The International Rescue Committee works to foster communities where women and girls are free from violence and have the rights and resources to promote their own safety and self-determination.
One of the ways IRC achieves this is through the Women’s Protection and Empowerment Team comprised of 450 field staff and technical experts, including specialists in primary prevention, care for child survivors, economic programming, and service delivery, among others. Collectively, this team advances the knowledge, skills, and tools necessary for humanitarian workers to serve survivors of gender-based violence (GBV) with effective, comprehensive programming that meets the specific needs of women and girls. In partnership with communities and institutions, we advocate for and protect the rights of women and girls while cultivating conditions in which women and girls can recover from violence and thrive.
The IRC currently has GBV programming in 38 countries/regions: Afghanistan, Balkans, Bangladesh, Burundi, Central African Republic, Cameroon, Chad, Cote d’Ivoire, Democratic Republic of Congo, Germany, Greece, El Salvador, Ethiopia, Italy, Iraq, Jordan, Kenya, Lebanon, Liberia, Libya, Malaysia, Mali, Myanmar, North Caucasus, Niger, Nigeria, Pakistan, Sierra Leone, Somalia, South Sudan, Syria, Turkey, Tanzania, Thailand, Uganda, the United States, Yemen and Zimbabwe.
There is no way you can fix a community if you only use half that community.—Nobel Laureate Leymah Gbowee
When you educate a girl, you kick-start a cycle of success. It makes economic sense. It makes social sense. It makes moral sense. But, it seems, it's not common sense yet.—Queen Rania of Jordan
Gender equality is more than a goal in itself. It is a precondition for meeting the challenge of reducing poverty, promoting sustainable development and building good governance.—Former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan
In both the public and private spheres, women continue to be denied opportunities to influence decisions that affect their lives. Gender-based violence contravenes women’s and girls' rights, undermines development and is an affront to our common humanity—UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon
Promoting gender equality and advancing the status of all women and girls around the world remains one of the greatest unmet challenges of our time, and one that is vital to achieving our overall foreign policy objectives.—President Barack Obama
While the steps we have taken are significant, we still have a long road to walk... All forms of violence against women must stop -- from the use of rape as a weapon of war to the use of violence by a husband to terrorize his wife within her own home.—UN Deputy Secretary General Asha-Rose Migiro
It’s important at the outset to underscore, [ensuring the security and advancement of women worldwide] is not a women’s issue... It cuts to the very core of who we are as human beings, what kinds of societies we choose to have, what kind of world we want to live in and leave for our children.—Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton
Despite increasing attention to violence against women and girls in crisis situations, it is still rarely prioritized in humanitarian responses [...] We need to see protecting women and girls from violence as lifesaving during emergencies, not optional.—Rt. Hon. Justine Greening MP, International Development Secretary of State (UK)
Since 1996, The INTERNATIONAL RESCUE COMMITTEE (IRC) has been working with women and girls in contexts affected by acute and protracted emergencies. The WOMEN’S PROTECTION & EMPOWERMENT (WPE) Team was created to support the development of holistic, survivor-centered services and the empowerment of families, communities and institutions to prioritize the well-being and development of women and girls. We seek to address both the immediate needs and long-term goals of our constituents. So in addition to offering shelter, food, water, medical and psychosocial assistance, we lay the foundation for long-term efforts to promote economic, social and political equality by facilitating the full participation of women and girls in the work of building safer, more equitable societies.
Underpinning our work are the beliefs that:
- Violence against women and girls violates their basic human rights.
- Women and girls have the resourcefulness and capacity to recover.
- Women and girls have the right to take the lead in decision-making that impacts their lives.
- Ending violence against women and girls is everyone’s responsibility.
Download our factsheet for more information about WPE programming, initiatives and impact.